If you’re a long-term reader of the ol’ Faraway Lucy, you’ll be well aware of my
overwhelming passion and obsession with love for glamping. From staying in a safari tent on a beach to a wagon in the countryside, I’d say I’ve covered some pretty decent ground when it comes to quirky accommodation. I
think my dream is to become a certified glamping extraordinaire (which makes me sound like a right princess but I bloody love a bit of camping too!). That’s why when the team at Host Unusual invited me to test out West Stow Pods, one of their favourite glamping sites in the UK, I jumped at the opportunity.
So where did we head off to I hear you cry? Well to none another than a gorgeous Tolkien inspired glamping site in Suffolk called West Stow Pods. Whilst at West Stow Pods I got the opportunity to try out two of the types of accommodation on offer. On our first night, we stayed in one of their MegaPods before stepping it up a notch on the second night where we stayed in their one-of-a-kind hobbit hole (oh yeah, it’s only going to get better, just you wait and see!).
This post will tell you everything you need to know about West Stow Pods, their MegaPods and what you can get up to in the Suffolk countryside before I write a separate post all about the hobbit hole. I’ve just got too many photos to share and too much to rave about! Let’s dive right in.
Glamping at West Stow Pods
West Stow Pods is a family-run business (shout out to the ever so lovely Ed and Jan) situated just outside of Bury St Edmunds in the village of West Stow. Unlike most glamping sites, West Stow Pods is really easy to find (in fact, it’s the only glamping site I haven’t got lost on the way to) as it is just off the main road instead of down the tiniest country lanes you can ever imagine.
However, it’s still really quiet and secluded and you don’t notice or hear the traffic at all in the woodland. As aforementioned, the nearest town is Bury St Edmunds which is about a 15-minute drive away, so you are never too far away from anything you may need. There you can find a Tesco Superstore along with plenty of bars, pubs, restaurants and shops.
A MegaPod at West Stow Pods
Welcome to our MegaPod! It’s pretty mega if you haven’t already heard. Jan took us into the woodland and as we kept walking, we were delighted to see that we were placed in the furthest pod from the road so it felt just that tiny bit more secluded.
There are four self-contained pods in total and each faces away from the other. They are also at a reasonable distance from one another, meaning you never need to worry about pesky neighbours looking over at you. However, if you’re visiting as a big group and want to be near to each other, you’re never more than a fifteen-second walk from the next pod!
The pods are like a tardis and I really don’t think the images do them justice. Contrary to what you would expect from the word ‘pod’, they are really spacious so you won’t feel claustrophobic at all. You’ll have enough space to do yoga, play board games, have a mini rave, or whatever it is that makes your heart sing.
Each MegaPod comes with all the amenities your heart could possibly desire (well from a step up from a camping trip anyway). This includes a dining table and chairs, digital TV and DVD player, a kitchenette with sink, fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle, and heating, lighting and electrical outlets.
One thing I loved about the MegaPod was how thick the curtains were and how soundproofed the pods are. This meant we could get some much sought after shut-eye. There’s nothing worse than going away for a relaxing weekend break only to wake up at 7am because the sun is shining through or some screaming kids or farm animals have decided that, yes, today is the day they audition for X Factor.
However, you won’t be getting a good night’s sleep if you forget to bring your bedding! Yes, folks, this is only a step up from camping after all. While West Stow Pods do provide a lot, you still have to bring everything as if you were camping. So that includes bedding, towels, plates, cups, BBQ equipment, etc.
Wait, BBQ equipment?! Yes, you heard me correctly. Each pod has its own outdoor space including a covered porch, a picnic table and chairs, and a brick barbecue. This cute little outdoor area is perfect for early mornings enjoyed slowly or sharing a bottle of bubbly as you watch the sun go down. Glamping holidays are all about getting fresh air so be sure not to lock yourself up in your pod all day and take a moment to appreciate the country air!
If you’re bringing the kids along with you, or two adults who are on a budget and couldn’t care less about where they sleep, you’ll be happy to hear that each pod comes with a double sofa bed. Don’t worry, it’s really comfy! As with the double bed, you’ll have to bring bedding along with you.
Huzzah! Hot running water and a flushable loo. Someone’s hit the jackpot! West Stow Pods is the only glamping site I have stayed at where the toilets are inside your accommodation. And let me tell you: it was great! No running outside in the pouring rain in the middle of the night just to empty your bladder.
The wet room was pretty tiny but who can complain when you’ve got hot water. Bear in mind, however, that the hot water only lasts around five minutes before it goes cold. You have been warned, folks! Shower quickly before you catch hypothermia.
What to Do at West Stow Pods
The whole point of glamping is to switch off and do whatever the hell you want. But if you need some recommendations, listen up!
Unfortunately, the weather was pretty crap whilst we stayed here so we didn’t get a chance to appreciate the beautiful outdoors but if the weather does sway in your favour, Jan recommends plenty of local walks for you to embark on.
For a tiny village, West Stow is chockablock with attractions! Whether you want to go back in time to the first English village at Anglo Saxon Village and Lakes or wander through some gorgeous gardens at Fullers Mill Garden, there’s no chance of getting bored in West Stow. If you need some more ideas, be sure to check out West Stow Pods’ recommendations on their website!
Bury St Edmunds
I’ve already mentioned Bury St Edmunds but what I did not mention was how incredibly quaint it is! Even if you don’t need to buy any food or drink, it certainly warrants a visit. We visited Bury St Edmunds for a couple of hours on a Monday evening and it was very peaceful indeed. Before heading out for a meal at Bill’s, we wandered around the town taking in all the local sights like the Abbey and Abbey Gardens, pictured above.
Bury St Edmunds is an ideal base for exploring the rest of the East of England too. Since I am as West as they come (big up the rolling hills of Herefordshire and Devon), I had never visited Cambridge before. Cambridge is only a 35-minute drive away so of course, we had to pay the city a quick visit!
We wandered around Cambridge taking in all of the iconic sights before grabbing a bite to eat. We started off by ordering the Chef’s special sourdough pizza from Franco Manca, before treating ourselves to some delicious Oreo gelato from Jack’s Gelato. Solid day, I’d say.
Win a glamping holiday at West Stow Pods
It’s not a Faraway Lucy review unless I give something back to you brilliant people, now is it? West Stow Pods has kindly agreed to give away either a free two-night midweek stay in one of their MegaPods or a free £100 gift voucher to use off your stay in Pod Hollow. It’s up to the winner to decide! There is space for four people in Pod Hollow and the MegaPods but they are perfect for a romantic getaway for two too.
To be in with a chance of winning, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and follow the instructions. Bear in mind that if you don’t complete the entries when you say you did, you will be disqualified. The more ways you enter, the more likely you are to win! This competition is open to UK residents aged 18+ and ends at 12:00 AM (BST) on Monday 8th October. I’ll announce the winner later that day over on my Twitter. Good luck everyone!
Faraway Lucy was welcomed as a guest of West Stow Pods, however, as always, all opinions are my own. his collaboration was arranged by Host Unusual. You can find West Stow Pods on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.